The first week of school started just as quickly as it ended! After the students moved in on Saturday, we had a couple days to relax and hang out before school started on Tuesday (Monday was Labor day, no classes/workshops).
Sunday we all hung around the house and finished unpacking with the students/post-grads. The post-grads live upstairs with Mary and Brian. They do not attend classes, but go to work off campus and also work on campus at places like Iduna's Kitchen, Land Crew, and the Textile Enterprises. The students live downstairs with Michelle, Jimmy, and me. They attend classes every day like gardening, money management, leisure planning, and reading.
Monday, some of us went for a little hike even though the weather was pretty dreary. Since it was a holiday, we wanted to do something fun! The hike ended up being pretty challenging for the students because the rocks were all wet and slippery. We toughed it out and ended up having a great time! Brian and I had the evening off, which starts at 5pm, so we didn't eat dinner with the group. We headed out to Friday's to grab some ribs! Each householder really pushes their co-workers to stay away from the house on their time off. I didn't really understand why, but they just kept saying 'trust us, you'll appreciate the time off'. So, after being shooed away from the house.. we wandered around town and ended up browsing Target and the local grocery store for the evening... woo-hoo...
Tuesday was the first day of classes. Everyone was very excited and anxious for the school year to begin! Luckily but also sadly, I didn't get to witness the chaos of the morning because it was Brian and my day off! Our original plan was to visit Pheonixville, home of Breads and Spreads. Breads and Spreads is a coffee shop that is run and staffed by people who work and live at Soltane. Unfortunately.. everything in Pheonixville is closed on Tuesdays or doesn't open until noon. We assumed we would spend the morning browsing around the shops and such but that didn't happen. At noon, we decided that it would be a good idea to drive into Philly and spend the afternoon there. Great idea.. right? So we though, until we remembered how horrid Philly traffic is. Literally every hour of the day, Philly traffic is gridlocked. We eventually reached our destination, Chesnut Hill. Chesnut Hill is a little village filled with quirky shops and good eats. We didn't have a ton of time to spend there because we promised one of our post-grads, Sonia, that we would be home for her birthday dinner. The weather was rainy and gloomy, but we enjoyed our time walking up and down Main St. We also ate at this teeny tiny, but FABULOUS, pizza place called Fiesta Pizza III. It was the cheapest place to eat in this expensive town, and with our nonexistent paychecks.. it was our only option. We read that they had an awesome philly cheesesteak pizza, so we opted for that one.. and we ate the entire pizza between the two of us, EMBARRASSING. This whole 'eating organic/vegan' thing has produced some strange meals that I haven't been super fond of yet.
After a few short hours in the city we had to come back home for Sonia's birthday dinner. We had burritos and chips n' salsa! For each students birthday, they get to choose what they want to eat for dinner. Sonia's parents also bought her a trike for her birthday! Another student on campus created a scavenger hunt that lead her to her present, it was a fun way to end the evening, watching Sonia ride her very own trike through campus!
Wednesday was my first day on campus while school was in session! It was my day of the week to work on the Land Crew. Land Crew consists of one leader, Mason, 2 co-workers, and 4 or 5 post grads. Depending on the season, we do different things. Since it's the fall we are harvesting apples from the orchard and sorting them so we can take them to be made into apple cider, apple butter, and other things! It's an easy way to stay active and also get to know the students since the work is not really a mental struggle. We just pick apples and talk! :) In the afternoon each day, from 12-3, we have rest time in our houses. We all come home and eat lunch together and then go into our rooms and nap or read or do whatever until 3pm. After rest time is the afternoon classes which range from hiking to swimming. The mornings are mainly for more academic classes and the afternoons are for classes that involve movement, personal therapy sessions are also in the afternoons.
Thursday is my cooking day! I spend the morning in Iduna's Kitchen and the afternoon at my house preparing dinner for my house. In the kitchen we tasted some pickles that had been prepared by the summer program. They were super yummy! Knowing that all the ingredients were gathered from Soltane's property was also a super interesting fact! Our class also talked about starting a garden for some cabbage, carrots, and potatoes. Hopefully we can make that happen! I had 2 students with me in the afternoon, helping me cook. I decided to make sweet potato quinoa burgers. Of course, they didn't turn out. I'm pretty sure I didn't follow the directions correctly. Next time, I'll pay more attention. I did want to inform everyone that cooking for 10 people is quite stressful.. and having 2 students helping out adds a bit more stress to the mix. They are quite capable of helping in the kitchen but you always have to keep an eye on what they're doing.. just in case! For instance.. Sonia and her friend Courtney were baking cookies and used salt instead of sugar. The jar wasn't labeled, so anyone could have made that mistake. But.. the cookies were not good at all. Although.. they tried to tell us they tasted terrific.
Anywho.. even though my dinner didn't look as good as it was supposed to, and the burgers were all crumbly.. they still tasted alright and everyone ate it.. and there were no leftovers! So, I guess it was a mild success. Next time I won't do such a fancy recipe. :)
Friday I had a full schedule! I had Ecology in the morning, which involved picking more apples. Half of the group spent their time in the berry bushes collecting raspberries and half of the group harvested apples. We will start to go to the mill on Thursdays to take the apples to be pressed into cider so we're trying to harvest as many as possible before next Thursday. My Friday afternoon is normally a Eurythmy class and hiking class right after that, but today the entire campus had a meeting. The meeting was about something called 'Open University'. This is where students or co-workers get the chance to teach a class or attend a class that interests them. There were many ideas thrown out by the community such as; swimming, make-up class, fitness, listening to music, field trips, drama, and bowling. I offered to instruct a yoga class, hopefully I make the cut and it gets put into the schedule! People seemed interested in it during the meeting, we'll see!
Each Friday night our house shows a movie and the house next door to us (Rockrose) shows one too! They usually show action movies and our house mainly shows family friendly flicks. Students from the community, if they want, can choose to go to either house and hang out and catch a good movie! Our house showed the original Alice in Wonderland. All the co-workers were gone except Brian and me so it was a little stressful.. especially when the DVD started skipping and the students started to get super upset about it. But, it all worked out in the end and everyone was happy. We even brought snacks!
Saturday is a campus-wide house cleaning day! Each house takes the morning to get their house tidy for the following week. Laundry is done, floors are mopped, bookshelves are dusted, etc. I was in charge of organizing the pantry, yes! I seriously love organizing, I was completely content being in there alone for 3 hours just giving things a proper place. By the time I finished the pantry, it was lunch and rest time. For lunch I ate yogurt topped with homemade granola, banana, and a few chocolate chips. It was fabulous and also really healthy as well as filling! It rained all day today. We got pretty bored and decided to watch a movie as a house, Alyssa picked Hook. It's her all time favorite movie. She was chanting for Peter Pan throughout the whole time and booing Hook and Roofio. It was hilarious.
Sunday was Ted's birthday! Happy Happy Birthday Teddio! Pizza and salad for dinner, yum! Ted turned 26 and he seemed to have a super awesome birthday! We woke up late (9am) and went for a morning walk to gather some raspberries to put in our fruit salad for brunch. BHW cooked killer unfinished pancakes for the house and one of our students made some tasty sausage. We also had 2 students from other houses join our brunch. Each day for dinner or Sunday for brunch, students get 'meal invites' to other houses. This encourages interactions between other houses/students besides during the school day. After brunch we had some rest time and then got ready to go putt-putting! It was so fun watching the students off campus, having a blast! Ted won putt putt, obviously and had an awesome celebration after we told him he won. Lots of hooting and hollering. :) First full week of classes next week, hopefully it goes as smoothly as this week!
** Quotes **
(BHW announcing who won at putt putting)
BHW: And in 4th place (out of 4 people) ... is ... ALYSSA
Alyssa: *jumping, screaming, clapping* 'WOOHOO! I WON! I WON! ALYSSA WON! I WONNNN!'
We just didn't have the heart to tell her otherwise.. and anyways.. everyone wins at Soltane! :)